The Pro League Committee announced the launch of the Virtual Reality Seat project which aims to broadcast matches through VR technology in partnership with Etisalat and Media Pro at a press conference. The press conference was attended by Waleed Al Hosani, CEO of the PLC; Humaid Sahoo, CEO of E-Vision and Media Pro Mario Bayarri, Middle East CEO of Media Pro.
The UAE professional football league has teamed up with Mediapro Middle East to enable live-streaming in VR of matches of the Arabian Gulf League competitions from the current season. Viewers in the UAE will enjoy an immersive experience as if they were pitch-sided or sitting at the stadium, and will be able to select their own camera viewpoint through a specially designed VR app for Android, IOS and web based platforms. Initial plans are to broadcast up to 10 games of the current season in VR.
Football fans will be able to download the mobile apps and enjoy the matches through VR technology which will enable them to follow all angles of the action and interact with it from anywhere in the world. The app is also equipped with a replay function which utilises cameras distributed on the sides of the pitch and behind the two goals. Fans can also view stats and information about players appearances, league tables and standings and more information through virtual screens.
The project will be called the AGL VR Seat Experience and is being sponsored by telecommunication operator Etisalat. E-Vision, a division of Etisalat, and Media Pro will hold the exclusive VR broadcast right while Etisalat, as a sponsor of the Arabian Gulf League, will have the right to benefit from the content and broadcast it through VR technology.
Media Pro Middle East CEO Bayarri touched on the technical aspects of the project, explaining that the technology offers a range of benefits to the viewer, whether they were in the stadium or watching remotely. He stressed that collaboration with the PLC and Etisalat to develop the experience will continue. According to reports in the media, Mediapro has partnered with VR specialist Vysion to use their Vroadcaster platform to live-stream and produce on-demand versions of matches.
"Together with our partners at the PLC and Etisalat, we hope to produce a different type of entertainment content by broadcasting matches through VR technology. This technology enables viewers to immerse themselves in the matchday experience from anywhere as if they were at the stadium. It also provides an exciting new prospect for fans".
PLC CEO Al Hosani expressed his delight that the project is finally seeing the light after a long period of development, studies and experimenting during which the PLC, Etisalat and Media Pro put a lot of effort to deliver this service for fans across the world. "We are proud at the PLC, alongside our partners Etisalat and in collaboration with Media Pro to be pioneering in this area," commented Al Hosani, "This is the first time anywhere in the world that a full football match is broadcast using this technology. There have been experiments with highlights and recording, but live broadcast of a full football match has never been done."
"Launching this technology is part of our 2017-2020 strategic plan in the area of boosting sports innovation culture and increasing adoption of technology and apps as the PLC looks to develop the level of services offered to football fans."
Sahoo joined in expressing delight on the launch of the project, adding that this will be a unique experience for Etisalat customers that will enable them to enjoy additional features in match viewing. "This step emphasises Etisalat's commitment to innovation and creativity and its pioneering position in smart solution and pursuit of developing its services in all fields," said the E-Vision CEO. "E-Vision is working towards a strategic goal of producing varied and unique content. This is one reason why we came into this partnership with the PLC and Media Pro to expand the window of broadcasting Arabian Gulf League and PLC competition games."